Sunday, 2 December 2012

Simon Murphy to conduct Latvian State Choir in Bach's B Minor Mass

Dutch-based Australian conductor Simon Murphy will conduct the Latvian State Choir in Bach's B Minor Mass in Riga this December.

Murphy (39) is chief-conductor of The Hague's Baroque orchestra, The New Dutch Academy (NDA), and internationally active as a guest conductor of both period instrument and modern symphony orchestras.

Baltic Début 

The invitation for this prestigious annual Latvian musical event will mark Murphy's conducting début in the Baltic states. Taking place in St John's church in the nation's capital on 18 December 2012, the performance will feature the Latvian State Choir and soloists together with Riga's Baroque orchestra, Collegium Musicum.

The Latvian State Choir was established in 1940. As Latvia's flagship choral ensemble, it represents the nation's enormously strong choral tradition which came to international attention during the “Singing Revolution” in the late 1980's in which Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians sang together in their hundreds of thousands successfully engineering massive social and political change at the end of the Soviet era.


Alongside his passion for classical symphonic music, Murphy has a great love for the music of J.S. Bach. He has earned a strong reputation for his distinctive performances of Bach's sacred and orchestral works. His recent performances of series of Bach cantatas at home in the Netherlands, including “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen” with the Noord Nederlands Orkest (NNO), gained high praise in the Dutch press:

“Effervescent Bach! … Guest conductor Simon Murphy doesn't only present the Baroque in a lively and captivating manner – he paces the musical development beautifully, letting the music breathe and rest along the way, whereby the listener's ears remain fresh and alert until the final chord.” Dagblad van het Noorden

Together with the NDA, Murphy's international performances of works of Bach, Handel and their contemporaries have also received major critical acclaim. Recent appearances at major European festivals have included the Holland Festival of Early Music Utrecht, Händel Festspiele Halle and Bachfest Leipzig.

“Murphy is a Baroque musician with “guts”: a conductor with the passion and conviction of a born missionary. He serves his music up to his audience con spirito and presto energico.”
De Volkskrant, The Netherlands

“Breathtaking, compelling, technically brilliant and unusually effervescent!
Murphy has it all - verve and pulsating temperament - presented with the finest finesse.”
Concerto, Germany

Recent Concert Highlights

In October 2012, Murphy opened the NDA's 10th anniversary season in The Hague with the symphonic programme Black Magic. Exploring the late 18th/early 19th century's obsession with destiny and the supernatural, the programme featured music from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Reichardt's Macbeth, von Webers Der Freischütz and Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream. 

In November 2012, Murphy made his conducting début in China with appearances in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Beijing, also giving master-classes and workshops at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and Beijing Central Conservatory.

Other Upcoming Performances

In May 2013, Murphy will conduct the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in a double bill featuring music by Corelli, Handel, Stamitz, Abel and JC Bach. Entitled Roman Holiday and New Generation, the concerts will be broadcast live by the Australian national broadcaster, ABC.

At home in the Netherlands, the NDA's 10th anniversary season includes symphonic programmes Heaven on Earth and Ein Heldenleben with music by Mozart, Beethoven, Schmitt, Romberg and Spohr.

About Simon Murphy

Simon Murphy (Sydney, 1973) is chief-conductor of The Hague's Baroque Orchestra, The New Dutch Academy (NDA). He studied with the leading lights of the Dutch early music movement, performing extensively with legendary figures such as Gustav Leonhardt. He has won much recognition for his work as a “repertoire refresher”, presenting fresh perspectives on established masterworks and introducing newly rediscovered musical gems:

“The repertoire-refresher, conductor Simon Murphy radiates joie de vivre. His interpretation distinguishes itself by its enthusiasm and his approach possesses a classic élan, displaying delicate sensitivity. 5 Stars!” Diapason, France

“Murphy's soundscape is refreshingly lively, transparent and full of noblesse, successfully communicating full emotional range and capturing the finesses of the musical style beautifully.”
Concerto, Germany

“Murphy exhibits liveliness and groove, great dynamic profile and a beautiful use of timbre”
Frankfurter Neue Presse, Germany

“Murphy's music making is full of imagination, great love and unstoppable drive”
NRC Handelsblad, The Netherlands


Bach B Minor Mass

Simon Murphy (Saimons Mērfijs), conductor
Latvian State Choir and Riga Collegium Musicum
18 December 2012, St John's Church, Riga

More information on Simon Murphy: